Zynga has quietly taken its newest mobile game, ForestVille, live on the App Store. While Zynga officially announced the game on December 15th, it was already available on the Canadian app store, a tactic developers have sometimes used to soft-launch new mobile games.
Featuring gameplay similar to the developer’s existing iOS title, CityVille Hometown, ForestVille tasks players to build a city for a variety of woodland creatures, replacing houses with caves and burrows more suited for its furry residents. Like CityVille Hometown, ForestVille is free-to-play and monetizes through in-app purchases. Players can also connect with their Facebook friends and trade gifts. According to very preliminary information from AppData, the game is ranked somewhere in the low 300s on the top free games chart.
It’s interesting to note that there is also a Facebook app for ForestVille that already has 2,000 monthly active users. As the app doesn’t list a developer its hard to say if it is legitimate, but if it is, there are two clear precedents for how Zynga could leverage it: The developer could use the app as an ad for the mobile game, similar what Zynga did for Hanging With Friends, or it could launch a cross-platform game from the app, which is what Zynga did with Words with Friends after acquiring the original mobile app in its acquisition of Newtoy.
The release of ForestVille comes just one day before Zynga begins trading on its IPO. The company is aiming for a valuation between $5.9 and $7 billion dollars. According to numbers revealed by chief executive Mark Pincus earlier this month at an investor’s lunch, Zynga is rapidly expanding its mobile user base, and now has 13 million daily active users on mobile platforms, so the release is well timed for the company.